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Backhand Tennis Instruction

The Backhand Groundstroke

Now for some backhand tennis instruction. Like the forehand, the backhand stroke has also evolved considerably with the modern technology of lighter and far more powerful tennis rackets.

Some say a more natural stroke than the forehand, the backhand also offers a greater range of stroke options than the forehand. For instance, both double handed backhands and the use of slice are far more common on the backhand than on the forehand side.

Pete Sampras and Roger Federer both have fantastic single handed backhands; whereas double handed greats include Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg.

Which shot is better, single handed or double handed? Well, that's for you and your coach to decide. You've got to figure out which shot is better suited to your overall game.

For instance, Pete Sampras switched from a double hander to a single handed backhand when he was fourteen. Few would argue that this was a poor choice. However, it doesn't follow that all 14 year olds should switch from a two hander to a one hander. That depends entirely on you and how you and your coach project your tennis future.

To help you with your backhand tennis instruction, below is a list of backhand fundamentals:


For single handed players, a closed stance with the right leg stepping across and forwards toward the ball is the traditional stance. More and more, though, pro players are adopting more of a neutral stance, with, in some cases, the toe of the front right foot pointing directly down the court towards the net.

For double handers, closed and neutral stances are the preferred options. However, a semi-open stance, particularly on wide balls, is becoming increasingly popular. This stance allows you to save time when recovering from out wide.


For one handers, the most common grip - for topspin - is for the back of the hand and the knuckles to be facing straight up when gripping the racket. The further the hand is turned in a counter-clockwise direction, the easier it becomes to hit topspin . . . but if you go too far towards an extreme backhand grip, handling low balls and pace will be a major problem.

If you want to develop a slice backhand, use a Continental grip, which hopefully is the same grip you use for your backhand volley.

For double handers, the options are far greater. Generally speaking, if you want a flatter shot, grip the racket with your right hand as if you're using an Eastern or semi-Western forehand grip. The left, more dominant hand, grips the racket as if for a left-handed forehand. Ideally, the two hands should be close together as this definitely provides greater co-ordination between the arms.

If you're looking for a heavier topspin shot, turn your right hand counter-clockwise, tending towards a traditional right handers grip for a single handed backhand. The more you turn your right hand counter-clockwise, the greater the role the right hand will play in your stroke.

The Swing

If you're a one-hander, you want your set up position to allow you to make contact with the ball with your arm in a comfortably bent (at the elbow) position. That is, on contact with the ball, you don't want your arm to be too bent at the elbow, or too straight.

You should start the backswing with the elbow bent as you take the racket back. When you begin the forward motion of the swing, the elbow is still bent, and a comfortable distance from the side of your body.

As you swing towards contact, the arm "unfolds" from the elbow towards the ball. Then, after contact, the arm continues the unfolding motion, tending towards a near or fully straight arm at the end of the follow through.

For double handers, the right elbow generally remains more bent than for a one handed shot. At all costs, try to avoid hitting the shot with a straight front arm.

For advanced players, the wrist also has a role to play. It can be used the same way as it's used for a forehand, except in reverse with the wrist folded back a little and the propelled forward with a frisbee like motion that requires excellent timing.

When you do use your wrist, one word of caution -- it requires both strength and superb timing, and should only be seen as adding the final touch to an otherwise fundamentally sound stroke.

If you're a two-hander, the wrists will most likely play a far greater role; reason being, you've got double the strength of a single hander.

More Backhand Tennis Instruction

Never forget that the backhand, like any stroke, offers a wide range of options. For the best backhand tennis instruction, you won't beat a competent coach. But researching on the web can also be extremely useful.

For other sites that offer great tennis backhand instruction, please click the links below:

Revolutionary Tennis - Backhand Tennis Instruction

Tennis About - Backhand Tennis Instruction

For slice backhand tennis instruction, you'll find what you're looking for right here.
Meanwhile, keep hitting those backhand winners.


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